It would be fair to say that Tim Godfrey has worked with a lot of rubbish over the past 33 years.

And the 72-year-old would be the first to agree.

For the past 33 years he has worked at the Black Bridge Refuse Transfer Station and, as he puts it, the last 28 years have been in "solitary confinement".

He has occupied the entrance point office pretty well every Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Until today, as Mr Godfrey reckons it is now time to give it away - time to retire and time to finally spend some weekend time with his wife Denise.


"I have to thank her first because she has had to sacrifice things on the weekend because I've been working.

"I think she'll be pleased - I'll probably take her out to dinner and we might take a bit of a holiday to Otane."

Mr Godfrey is one of life's characters and that is what has endeared him to so many people he has met at the transfer station gates through the years.

"He is absolutely delightful and always has time for a chat and a laugh - he brings a smile to the faces of one and all," Haumoana resident Frankie Durham said.

She said the ever-cheerful Mr Godfrey, who always had a funny or cheeky one-liner, would be greatly missed as he had made a huge contribution".

Mr Godfrey said it was first-name stuff with the many regulars - many who often used his knowledge of the region as well.

"They call me the information centre of Haumoana," he said.

Mr Godfrey first started at the transfer station in 1983 when it was run by Hawke's Bay County Council as a recycling site. Five years later, when Hastings District Council began charging for visits to the Henderson Rd station, the county followed suit. Mr Godfrey recalled the long days, opening at 7am and running to 6pm.

In 1991, he went onto the three-day weekend and Monday roster.

He has a simple philosophy about people. "If you are good to them and you treat them right then they will treat you right."

And even on bad days, when he may have got a bit of stick, he said he'd shrug it off. "You can't be down in the dumps here," he said with a laugh.

There had been plenty of light moments though. Like the time "one joker" arrived with his vehicle towing a trailer.

"What have you got mate?" Mr Godfrey asked.

"A trailer mate," the man replied.

"No you haven't - it's back there half-way down the hill."

The road judder bars had shaken it loose.

From today it is retirement time and he said he had a few things around the house to get on with.

"But I will miss all the people and I want to thank them - they've been very good to deal with."

He quickly added he wanted to thank his employers as well.

"Because they're the ones who paid me."